Emily Lagunes attends second grade at Dillon School in Rock Falls. Emily is the oldest of four, and comes from a Spanish speaking household. Her mother knows very little English and Emily translates for her in most cases. Because of the language barrier, reading and homework assistance are difficult for the family.

Emily first joined YMCA programing in the summer Outreach Day Camp, a free service providing school-aged child care, healthy meals, and wellness education within low income neighborhoods.

Over the past year Emily has become very involved in additional Y programs. These programs provide academic support and enrichment activities so Emily reach her full potential in a safe environment.

The Y afterschool program at Dillon school was the perfect place for Emily to get help with reading and homework, and receive a healthy meal before heading home. However, that program does not provide transportation and Emily had no way home. Emily was so upset over the possibility of not attend the after-school program that her teacher found her crying at her desk. The Y worked closely with the school and Whiteside County Public Transportation to find a way for Emily to participate and have a safe ride home.

When she started in Y programs as a first grade student Emily did not know her alphabet. During her time in YMCA programs her reading scores have improved, she enjoys swim lessons, and loves learning about technology.